Video: 2015 William Anderson Award

The William Anderson prize is awarded annually for the best dissertation in the general field of federalism or intergovernmental relations, state and local politics. The Recipient is Alexis Walker, Stetson University for the Dissertation: “Solidarity’s Wedge: How America’s Federalized Labor Law Divides and Diminishes Organized Labor in the United States,” Cornell University.

Why does organized labor punch below its weight in American politics? This project emphasizes the important role of institutions—namely divided labor law and federalism—in shaping the composition, size, strength, and effectiveness of organized labor in the American politics. Utilizing an American political development approach as well as data from a number of different sources, the dissertation finds that the exclusion of public sector employees from the foundation of private sector labor law, the 1935 Wagner Act, and federalized American labor law delayed the growth of public sector unions and contributed to both their legal vulnerability divisions within organized labor that affect union members and leaders’ political behavior today.

Thanks to the Award Committee: Melissa Marschall, Rice University; Rob Preuhs, Metropolitan State College of Denver; and Kim Johnson, Barnard College.